By Julia Ng Yu Xin and Yeow Wei Xuan Marcus,

Phase II Medicine students

As part of a community outreach project to further the partnership between NUS Medicine and Vietnam Military Medical University (VMMU), a team comprising five medical students, two nursing students and two doctors embarked on a trip to Hanoi.

 

It was indeed a privilege to be able to visit one of Vietnam’s top universities as well as interact with the senior leadership of the university, nursing, pharmacy and both military and civilian medical students. It was a memorable experience and we are very thankful to both NUS Medicine and VMMU for the opportunities that we have had.

 

It was our first visit to Vietnam for many of us. This community outreach trip had given us opportunities to explore the heart of the city, understand the workings of the Vietnamese healthcare system and work with the VMMU staff and students. Such opportunities would not have been possible if not for the warm hospitality of VMMU, who were our partners and generous hosts for the entire trip. We held many discussions during the trip, covering a range of topics from national healthcare policies to sharing about our individual school’s medical curriculum.

 

This allowed both sides to glean much insight about the other’s experiences. The exchanges were an eye-opener to Vietnamese society; the stories that were told gave us an understanding of Vietnamese students’ university life, while the friendships that we made will endure way beyond the short stay that we had there. What we heard, saw and learned will go a long way in our personal growth and help us to contribute to the future collaborations between NUS Medicine and VMMU.

 

We also had the opportunity to go on a guided tour around the city centre to explore the rich culture and beautiful architecture of Hanoi. During the tour, we stopped by a pork noodle (Bún chả) restaurant for lunch, and later found out that it was the same

Bún chả restaurant which the former President of the United States, Barack Obama visited during his visit to Hanoi. We even sat on the same seats that he and his entourage used.

 

The five-day trip was too short and was over before we knew it. It was definitely a trip to remember and we will continue to share our experience for years to come. We would recommend VMMU to anyone who is considering doing an elective or exchange programme.

 

  • Discussion at the Community Health Centre, Vinh Tuong District.
  • VMMU Headquarters, Hanoi.